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14 Oct 2021

Climate change: What has it got to do with the housing sector?


Households account for approximately 20% of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, with energy use being the primary contributor. The Australian government's Your Home website provides some useful recommendations on how to reduce the household carbon footprint.

The general built environment is also a major contributor with the operational component of a building contributing 28% of its GHG emissions and the embedded component derived from the building process a further 11%. CHOs manage a distributed built environment based largely on households and are in a strong position to reduce the CO2 loading that the housing portfolio creates, along with its operational premises and offices. Direct physical measures, especially for new build projects, but also including retrofit measures, can reduce the operational carbon footprint of every building.

Furthermore, we can support tenants to reduce their environmental impact. Recycling, reduced water use and changed household consumption patterns make a major reduction given the average Australian household creates up to 18 tonnes of CO2 each year. The reduced costs achieved also make a direct contribution to poverty alleviation. Equally CHOs can alter the carbon output of key service components including energy sourcing for common areas and business premises, fleet operation and staff travel. Where direct savings are not possible, carbon offsetting allows compensatory purchase from the many carbon offsetting schemes available.

None of this happens by itself and requires strategic planning and integration of the SDGs in operational plans. Agenda 2030 provides nearly a decade to organise our impact. This spans multiple planning cycles of most organisations and developing an SDG strategy for the decade that works alongside shorter strategic planning periods provides an excellent framework to design, measure, evaluate and fine tune the organisation’s contribution to the Decade of Action.

The final observation to make is that climate change is increasingly seen as a major risk that boards need to consider as a core component of their risk mitigation strategy. The AICD published guidance on climate change and governance in 2016. In Climate Change and Good Corporate Governance the AICD identifies that climate change aware boards understand the risks and accept that action is required immediately. 

Adopting a Sustainable Development Goals Strategy demonstrates organisational awareness of risk and proof of action to mitigate risk. Having now undertaken a process of SDG alignment with two CHOs I know the exercise places the organisation in a stronger business position to understand the risks posed by climate change. It also motivates staff to become involved in a change process that will place the organisation amongst those that can look back in 2030 and be proud of their contribution to this vital global process of carbon reduction and climate change mitigation.

Get in touch if you would like to starting your organisational SDG journey, and join the growing commitment to Agenda 2030 and the Decade of Action.

Professor David Adamson OBE is Compass Housing Services’ Group Chief Strategic Engagement Officer. He manages Compass’ international development activities, Compass consultancy services, and advocacy for social housing reform. He also steers Compass’ commitment to promoting and achieving the SDGs, is an Emeritus Professor at the University of South Wales, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Newcastle.

This article was first published by theahi.com.au


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07 Oct 2021

More Australian Business Awards for Compass

Compass Housing Services has been awarded five 2021 Australian Business Awards.

The Community Housing Provider has been recognised as an ABA100 winner for

  • Employer of Choice | Seven years running 2015-2021
  • Change Management 
  • HR Management 
  • Sustainability | Also won in 2020, 2021 and in 2019 with our Community Contribution submission related to Vegepods
  • Community Contribution | Six consecutive years 2016 – 2021

Compass has now been recognised in the awards as an employer of choice for seven years running and for its community contribution six years running. It has been awarded a sustainability award for the second year running.

Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said the awards recognise Compass’ commitment to continuous improvement and innovative business processes.

He said to receive awards several years running is a credit to his highly skilled and professional team.

“We continue to evolve the way we deliver and manage housing to better meet the needs of tenants, community and funding bodies,” Mr Budworth said.

“And we strive to offer our team a challenging and rewarding place in which to work,” he said.

“We are all united by a vision where all people have appropriate and affordable shelter and are engaged in sustainable communities.”

In their sixteenth year, The Australian Business Awards are an annual program that recognises organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement via a set of established business and product award categories.

The Awards’ Program Director Tara Johnston said that the pandemic has presented one of the most significant business challenges ever faced by organisations across Australia.

‘COVID-19 created a critical need for leading organisations to adapt to new working environments and adopt new approaches to innovation whilst navigating the technical and operational constraints imposed by lockdowns,” Ms Johnston said.

“As the world changes, these organisations have implemented new business tools, practices, and policies to facilitate productivity beyond the physical office, presenting unique opportunities for business transformation by rethinking their business strategies and processes,” she said.

The expertise of the Compass team is receiving other recognition. Compass is a three- time finalist in the upcoming Hunter Business Awards.

  • Excellence in Community Enterprise
  • Excellence in Sustainability
  • Outstanding Employer of Choice

The Hunter Business Awards will be announced on November 17.

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30 Aug 2021

Housing Timebomb Needs Federal Fix

Australia faces a social housing timebomb, with a looming shortfall of almost 200,000 homes by 2031 unless the Federal Government begins investing now.  

A report released today by Compass Housing Services finds state governments have limited capacity to house the people on their respective waiting lists and no capacity to cater for future demand. 

Report lead-author Professor David Adamson said despite good intentions the states had lost control of the issue and the problem was now too big for them to handle with 196,000 new social housing units needed by 2031.

“There are approximately 169,000 households on social housing waiting lists across Australia and under the current system most of them will never be allocated a property,” he said.  

“Over the next decade the states and territories are planning to build just 66,000 social housing properties. Even if they hit their targets, they will have undershot the existing level of demand by 60%, or more than 100,000 homes. 

“If you include the additional demand from population growth over the period in question the shortfall increases to more than 196,000 homes.” 

Report co-author Martin Kennedy said the problems facing the social housing system were part of a broader housing crisis that had been building for 30 years. 

“Home ownership rates have collapsed, the share of renters in housing stress is increasing and social housing waiting lists are out of control,” he said. “The Commonwealth insists social housing is a state responsibility, but that arrangement isn’t working.” 

“If we keep expecting the states to fix a problem that is clearly beyond them, an increasing proportion of the population will experience socially damaging levels of inequality and financial hardship. 

Everybody’s Home national spokesperson, Kate Colvin, said federal intervention was urgent. 

 “The federal-state blame game is arid and gets us nowhere. A ballooning number of Australians on low and middle incomes simply cannot compete for housing in the booming private sales and rental market.

“We need a breakthrough in co-operation quickly, otherwise Australia will confront a social catastrophe. State governments simply do not have the fiscal firepower to build enough social housing. Unless the Federal Government steps up, homelessness services and other health and welfare services will be overwhelmed.

The report calls on the Commonwealth to take the lead on a national partnership between all levels of government, community housing organisations, and the private sector.  



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30 Aug 2021

Highlights from the NDIA 2021 SDA Market Summary

Compass Housing Services SDA team has summarised the highlights from the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) 2021 SDA Market Summary –2021.

Our expert team analyses this and other data to help people seeking SDA Housing as well as builders, developers and investors looking to partner with Compass on SDA projects.

To discuss your SDA needs, please call 1300 333 733 (option 5) or visit www.compasshousing.org//specialist-disability-accommodation

The NDIA welcomes the significant growth in new SDA builds and anticipates further investment and building activity will be needed. It says providers and investors must consider the breadth of demand across building types and categories.

Demand for single-resident apartments

  • NDIA current data indicates the emergence of a potential supply imbalance between single-resident apartments in some locations compared with all other building types, particularly in relation to the High Physical Support category. This correlates with heightened vacancies in single-resident apartments.
  • From 1 July 2021 new build SDA properties must have a report from an accredited SDA assessor in order to be enrolled as a SDA dwelling. New builds can be pre-certified at the design stage to improve developer and investor confidence that the dwelling will be enrolled as SDA.
  • While demand for innovative single-resident dwellings will continue, the NDIA says current enrolment rates of High Physical Support single-resident dwellings do not align to the likely approved demand. These dwellings will likely carry a greater risk of vacancies.


New SDA Finder Tool to guide investment decisions

  • The NDIA will soon launch an online SDA Finder tool to give SDA providers a tool to meet their existing obligations under the SDA Rules to provide the NDIA with information on their vacancies. It will allow for better visibility of existing SDA supply and improved pathways for eligible participants to connect with SDA providers.


SDA demand and participant eligibility

  • The NDIA publishes demand data on the number of participants with SDA. It has begun combining the processes for decision making for SDA funding and determining the amount of care participants need to live in their home (supported independent living or SIL). This will provide a more comprehensive understanding of NDIS participants’ reasonable and necessary home and living needs. It will help SDA providers to assist participants in identifying and understanding available housing options under the NDIS.
  • To speed up the eligibility process, NDIA participants can now submit a home and living supports request form to apply for a home and living assessment without having to wait for a meeting with a planner.
  • Growth in the number of participants in SIL will increase from approximately 26,000 to 35,000 over the next four years. Not all participants in SIL arrangements require SDA, as other support types such as home modifications and independent living options meet participant need.
  • The NDIA is currently analysing likely demand cohorts such as young people living in residential aged care and participants living in housing transitioned from state and territory governments. The NDIA will make the analysis public to help guide investment decisions.
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20 Aug 2021

Compass a finalist in 2021 Hunter Business Awards

Compass Housing Service is a three time finalist in the upcoming 2021 Hunter Business Awards.

The organisation is in the running for awards in the following categories:

  • Excellence in Community Enterprise
  • Excellence in Sustainability
  • Outstanding Employer of Choice

Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said the accolades are a credit to Compass’ highly skilled and professional team.

He said to be a finalist in three categories is a great achievement.

“The Compass team strive for excellence, not only in tenant support but in sustainability,” Greg said.

“We continue to evolve the way we deliver and manage housing to better meet the needs of tenants, community and funding bodies,” he said.

“We been successful in gaining Government contracts to deliver more housing and housing support, which also creates local jobs.”

“Our engagement activities, including our community hubs and gardens, are about making sure we do more than put a roof over people’s heads.”

Greg said Compass’ vision is that all people have appropriate and affordable shelter and are engaged in sustainable communities.

He said Compass has integrated the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into all its plans. It is working with other organisations to increase the use of the SDGs to address major environmental and social issues affecting communities.

“We focus on being an employer of choice so we can attract passionate and talented people to realise our vision.”

The annual Hunter Business Awards are presented by Business Hunter (formerly the Hunter Business Chamber).

Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes said this year’s awards were the most contested yet in the 40 years they have been running. There are 72 finalists vying for awards across 14 categories, chosen from hundreds of entries.

The awards night is tentatively set for October 22, depending upon COVID-19 restrictions.


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